Though they have declined significantly over the years, fur farms still make up a huge part of the fur industry. Most of the farms raise mink or foxes. Only two bobcat fur farms are known to exist in the world, and one of them is soon to be in Montana. Here’s the story:
Bobcat fur farm moves to Fergus County
Larry Schultz inspects one of the pens in the breeding yard. When the new facility is complete, there will be 120 adult bobcats on the premises. Photo by Christopher McConnell
By CHRISTOPHER MCCONNELL
Staff WriterPublished:Wednesday, November 19, 2014 2:09 PM MST
Larry Schultz is a simple man with a live and let live philosophy – and a man who owns one of only two bobcat fur farms in the world.
When he was looking for property in Fergus County, a local real estate agent told him about a parcel near Roy. Schultz asked, “Does Roy have a post office?” Yes. “Does it have a place to eat?” Yes. “Does it have a bar?” Yes, two. “Perfect,” Schultz said.
When he saw the cabin, perched above rolling hills and surrounded by 80 sprawling acres in the shadow of the Judith Mountains, he knew it was where he was moving his controversial business. He and his domestic partner of 16 years, Carol Bomstad, purchased the property in June.
He filed for a fur farm license with Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks on June 18. The agency did the required Environmental Assessment. The public comment period resulted in an astounding 21,185 statements representing 21,182 individuals, one petition and two organizations: the Humane Society and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Comments came from all over the world and in every state in the nation. Twenty of the comments were in favor of approving the license and the remaining 21,165 expressed opposition based on principle, objection to fur farms and the commercial fur industry.
The public comment period ended Aug. 29 and the EA determined a finding of no significant impact. The proposed fur farm was approved Oct. 24. Gary Bertellotti, FWP Region 4 supervisor, in a written statement said, “Based on the analysis in the environmental assessment, applicable laws, regulation and policies, FWP has determined this action will not have a significant effect on the human or physical environment,” and gave Schultz the green light to possess bobcats, “for the sale of pelts in the commercial fur industry.”